The Worland Family in America and Beyond

I began my life in the Puget Sound area of Washington State, on an island filled with forests and wild rhododendrons. I was separated from my Worland family there at an early age. Recently, I was reunited with my family and learned of my heritage. And so, this journey to know my ancestors began. The Worlands, Gideons, Newtons, Conards... they were the colonists, the settlers, the pioneers. They fought in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War. This is their story, and the story of a nation. -Deci Worland MacKinnon

Saturday, June 26, 2010

1722 Massachutsetts

1722 - John Sisson, my eighth great grandfather, is jailed in Bristol, Massachutsetts, for refusing to pay taxes.

John Akin and Phillip Tabor, of Dartmouth, Joseph Anthony and John Sisson of Tiverton were assessors to their respective towns; and being Quakers and Baptists they refused to collect taxes imposed by the General Court Of Massachusetts for the maintenance of ministers.

This order was from the general court in Boston who had authority as of the 1692 charter.
For this they were all imprisoned at the common jail at new Bristol. The case was successfully argued before the King's Privy Council and it was decreed that not only must the officials be released but also that the taxes must be remitted.
This was a very important step for the Quakers because it marked the end of the persecution that had followed them for so long.

From The History of Bristol County, Massachusetts: With Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men, Part 1

In the year 1722 the Assembly of Massachusetts passed an act to raise one hundred pounds in the town of Dartmouth and seventy-two pounds eleven shillings in the town of Tiverton (then a part of Massachusetts) for the support of ministers, whose selection was subject to the approval of the General Court. These two towns were the only ones in the Province that had not received any Presbyterian ministers. To blind the eyes of the people this sum was put with the province tax, and was afterwards to be drawn out of the treasury. The spirit with which this was met by the inhabitants of Dartmouth can best be seen by quoting the record of the town-meeting held Nov. 26, 1722. The record says,—

" It being put to vote whether the whole rate of one hundred and eighty-one pounds twelve shilllings, called Dartmouth's proportion of our province tax, he made by the selectmen, it passed in the negative. And It was put to vote whether eighty-'.ne pounds twelve shillings, being as we are informed by our representative to be our just proportion of our province tax, he forthwith ... by the selectmen of said Dartmouth. Voted that it shall be made. Thirdly, Voted that the charge, ..., either by execution on their bodies or estates or in appealing to His Majesty for relief, be raised by town rates. Fourthly, Voted that seven hundred pounds be used by the inhabitants of said Dartmouth by a town rate, for securing the selectmen for not making the into of one hundred pounds, and also for all expenses arising In our sending to England to His Majesty in the above premises. Fifthly, Voted that the selectmen are to be allowed — shillings, each of them, a day for every day they lie in jail on the town account."

The town was thoroughly in earnest. Only five tax-payers protested against this appropriation of the seven hundred pounds. This sum, large for those days, was to be met by the tax of that year, and was not bequeathed to posterity in the form of a town debt. Prior to this, in 1696, the town had instructed the selectmen not to make the rates sent for by the general treasurer for this purpose, and in the same year it was voted that Recompeuce Kirby and Mark Jenne should have fifty shillings apiece, part of the money they paid to Capt. Pope, upon the account of their being " pressed;" and it was also voted that there should be a rate made of twenty-four pounds for a town fund.

The bold and defiant attitude taken by the town could not be overlooked by the province rulers. The refusal of the selectmen to assess the tax was followed by their imprisonment in Bristol jail, where they remained about eighteen months. The persons who were imprisoned were Philip Taber and John Akin, selectmen of Dartmouth, and Joseph Anthony and John Sisson, selectmen of Tiverton, a part of whom were Baptists and a part Quakers. An embassy was sent to England. Thomas Richardson and Richard Partridge, who were Quakers, interceded in their behalf. Their petition, addressed to the King in Council, was an able document, and nobly did it plead for freedom of conscience and security of religion, civil liberty, and property. The petition was considered at the court of St. James on the 2d day of June, 1724, when were present the King's most Excellent Majesty and all the lords of the Privy Council, and it was ordered that the obnoxious taxes be remitted, and that Philip Taber and his fellow-sufferers be immediately released from their imprisonment, and the Governor and all other oflicers of the province of Massachusetts Bay were notified to yield obedience to these orders.

This brief but brilliant record of the sacrifices and sufferings, the persistent fidelity and the triumphant success of the humble fathers of the old town of Dartmouth in the great struggle for the rights of conscience, which is still going on throughout the Christian world, entitles them to a high place in the veneration and gratitude of their posterity. They share, with Roger Williams, the exalted honor of declaring to their rulers and to the world that, having fled from ecclesiastical oppression in the Old World, they would resolutely maintain their resistance to it in the New; and that through the confiscation of their goods, the incarceration of their persons, amidst all the hardships of a new settlement in the wilderness, and under all the horrors of savage warfare, they would never falter in the assertion and maintenance of the great principle of "perfect liberty in all matters of religious concernment."

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